- Composed by Howard Shore
- WaterTower Music / 2010 / 41:43
In 1996, Howard Shore toiled away writing music for a Mel Gibson revenge thriller (Ransom) only to see his music ousted from the film late in the day, to be replaced by another composer. In 2009 another composer toiled away writing music for a Mel Gibson revenge thriller (Edge of Darkness) only to see his music ousted from the film late in the day, to be replaced by Howard Shore. The circle of life for a film composer. Shore’s music for this film is incredibly dark, concentrated in the orchestra’s lowest registers for most of its running time. He’s a composer who takes himself very seriously and writes music reflecting that; this album growls along cheerlessly for the majority of its running time. I may out myself as a complete philistine by saying it (well, I guess I outed myself as a complete philistine years ago through various oafish statements) but I find the score’s most impressive moments to be the few where Shore releases the shackles and really goes on all-out-attack – the violent burst in “Knife”, the aggressive dissonance of “Pursuit”, the incredible tension-release of “Killing”.
The score’s softer side impresses, too – the composer does his best to keep emotion in check at all times, but the hint of sentiment in “Mourning” offers an early hint of something lying underneath, a feeling explored much further in the lovely finale, “You’re My Girl”. The penultimate cue, with its similarity to the Gollum music from The Two Towers, seems somewhat incongruous, but otherwise one can’t help but admire Shore’s well-thought-out approach – this is monochromatic music, rare for a Hollywood film composer, but it’s also very well-composed music. The complexity of the orchestration is completely buried in the dire recording, but listen carefully enough and you can hear some of it buried in there. This isn’t an easy album to sit and listen to, but not everything in life should be easy, and if you find yourself in the right mood then it’s certainly one worth having in your collection. ***